For the first time in the presidential race, an average of four major polls gives Republican Mitt Romney a two-point lead over incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama.
The Real Clear Politics website, which offers an average of polls by major polling firms and is often consulted by experts, shows IBD/TIPP, Rasmussen, Pew and Gallup polls taken after the first presidential debate averaging out to a two percentage point lead for Romney among likely voters.
While the first debate centered on the economy, the next debate between the candidates will feature both domestic and foreign policy issues, and the last debate will be devoted exclusively to foreign policy.
The fact that the first debate had extremely high rating levels and had such a profound influence on the polls guarantees that the media and the public will have heightened interest in the next two debates, and makes them even more crucial.
The central issue in foreign policy that Romney is bound to focus on, and that Obama will have to play defense on, is the Middle East, where an epic battle between the Biblical narrative and that of Islamists is coming to a head after brewing for hundreds, maybe thousands of years.
The recent debacle in which a U.S. ambassador was murdered in Libya highlights the stark difference between the Obama Administration's approach to the Middle East conflict, and the traditional approach of U.S. Christians -- especially that of Evangelicals.
Obama's approach to the Middle East seeks to avoid conflict with the forces of Islam at all costs, apparently even to the point of self-deception, as the Libya affair has shown. Many Israeli observers suspect that on the gut level, Obama actually favors the Muslim narrative over the Biblical approach – shared by Judaism and Christianity – that sees Jerusalem as continuing to be King David's capital, not Mohammed's.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opened his recent speech at the United Nations with a mention of King David. To a large extent, the vision of modern Israel as a step in the continuity of the House of David promised in the Bible – as opposed to the Islamist claim which portrays the reigns of King David and his son Solomon, and the Temples as described in the Bible, as a hoax, despite archaeological evidence of the 2nd Temple and the Koran itself (which talks of the destruction of the two Temples that had stood on the site of today's Al-Aksa) is what the final crescendo of this election may be shaping up to be about.
Whereas on the surface, Obama's and Romney's policy statements on the Middle East are almost identical, the "music" from Romney's statements is markedly different from that emanating from Obama's. The obviously good chemistry that Romney has with Netanyahu, compared to the frigid relationship between the Israeli leader and Obama, is further evidence of this.